The 2013/2014 season has ended and with it Arsenal’s trophy drought. The Gunners might have failed to win the Premier league after faltering in the latter stages but they didn’t fail to win the FA Cup and that means the age-long trophy drought has finally ended. There are a lot of things to take away from Arsenal in the just concluded season. Let me share some with you.
Wenger has balls. The Frenchman has often been berated for lacking the will to make big decisions. He proved his doubters wrong with some key decisions that worked in Arsenal’s favour. He kept his captain on the bench. Going into the new season, Mertesacker and Koscielny were the first choice centre-back pairing but Vermaelen was hopeful he could break into the first team at some point but hard as he tried, he couldn’t. Wenger stuck with his preferred choice as long as they were fit despite it meaning his captain remained on the bench. That’s the hallmark of a man that knows what he wants and ready to go for it regardless of whose ox is gored.
Ramsey’s is Arsenal’s new talisman. In a team that has so many experienced and expensive players, Arsenal found a new force in a Welshman Aaron Ramsey. He wasn’t bought expensively like Ozil neither did he arrive from a top club like the German but he had the heart of a lion and showed it. Many a times he bailed Arsenal out and in his absence, the Gunners’ title bid seriously derailed and faltered. But fortunately, he came back on time to help them win the FA Cup with a stunner. A key lesson to learn is if Arsenal are to win the league next season, Ramsey is one man that must be kept fit.
Arsenal have perfected the art of beating small sides. The Gunners might not have won the league in the just concluded season and that was due to them faltering against the big teams; Chelsea, Liverpool and City. They lost only twice to a team below the 7th spot and that was Stoke and Aston Villa. Should Arsenal maintain this new found form next season and also steal points off their title rivals, they stand a good chance of winning the league. Chelsea had a good run against the title contenders but flopped against the minnows and finished in the 3rd spot. That meant to win the league, beating the small sides is as important if not more important that beating the top teams. This is one ability Arsenal have to maintain next season.
The midfield partnership that works. It is not an exaggeration if it is said that Arsenal have one of the best if not the best midfield in the Premier League but the bone of contention has been those that would anchor the defensive midfield area. Is it Flamini and Arteta, Flamini and Ramsey, Arteta and Ramsey, Flamini and Wilshere or Arteta and Wilshere? The most productive has been the partnership of Ramsey with either Flamini or Arteta. Wilshere and either of them also worked but the partnership of Flamini and Arteta didn’t prove too fruitful. Both men are too defensive minded and that robs Arsenal of the needed attacking impetus that the forward driving runs of Ramsey and Wilshere bring.